1. MartinWellow
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    MartinWellow Member

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    Style Speech marks

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MartinWellow, Aug 15, 2016.

    So many questions in my head... :)

    Can someone advise on the correct / sensible version of the following last three words:

    The man replied, "If you had asked yesterday I would have said of course not."
    The man replied, "If you had asked yesterday I would have said "Of course not."."
    The man replied, "If you had asked yesterday I would have said 'Of course not'."
    The man replied, "If you had asked yesterday I would have said of course not."

    Or some other variant?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The first version is clearest and not cluttered. It also makes the most sense to me, because in this case the man isn't even quoting something that was ever said (because he wasn't asked about whatever it is yesterday), so I don't see the point in using direct quotes for that bit.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Assuming the actual words he would have used were "of course not" then option three.

    If he just would have given a strong negative in some words but not necessarily "of course not" (ie. a paraphrase) then option one.

    ETA: Cats are quick!
     
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  4. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this is a case of giving your audience a bit of credit. I'm learning this fast.

    Use the first. It looks the best, reads the best, and not even the offspring of a village idiot and weather girl would fail to understand it.

    I'd also use contractions, but that's just me.

    The man replied, "If you'd asked yesterday I'd have said of course not."
     

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